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An Introduction to Survey Research by Edward Nelson, Ernest Cowles

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CHAPTER 6

Writing Good Questions

Nearly four decades ago, Warwick and Lininger indicated that

Survey research is marked by an unevenness of development in its various subfields. On the one hand, the science of survey sampling is so advanced that discussion of error often deals with fractions of percentage points. By contrast, the principles of questionnaire design and interviewing are much less precise. Experiments suggest that the potential of error involved in sensitive or vague opinion questions may be twenty or thirty rather than two or three percentage points.1

While both sampling methodology and survey question development have advanced significantly since Warwick and Lininger made that observation, the development of question methodology ...

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